Covid related PTSD

ZS Archives | Covid related PTSD

The ongoing pandemic at hand has triggered several mental health, physical and economic concerns.

Nevertheless, it’s in the midst of a crisis where we can unite and learn from each other’s experiences. Throughout the year’s humans have faced several pandemics, which unfortunately took the lives of millions of people across the world.

Despite the advances in modern medicine, the Covid pandemic keeps on taking lives by the day. Aside from the death toll that we’re constantly reminded of, the pandemic revealed how brittle our mental health is and that we need to take better care of our psychological and physical health.

The Psychiatric Times wrote an article about the various traumatic stressors related to Covid in addition to severe stress exposure. The pandemic and the stress that accompanies it has led to depression, anxiety, stress disorder and other related trauma; -stress-related disorders. Those who lost loved ones during the pandemic and their livelihoods meet the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD.

For medical health professionals, the strain of Covid has led to a fear of virus exposure, burnout and the emotional trauma of losing patients beyond the point of saving. In this blog post, we will be looking at PTSD and the effects thereof. In short, PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. But what does all of that mean, and how does PTSD affect an individual? Read more to find out.

People with PTSD may avoid situations or people who remind them of the traumatic event.

They may have strong adverse reactions to something as ordinary as a sudden loud noise or an accidental touch. A diagnosis of PTSD requires exposure to an upsetting, traumatic event. However, exposure could be indirect rather than first hand. For example, PTSD could occur in an individual who experiences or witnesses the suffering related to COVID-19. This could result in a higher prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder in the individual.

Statistics at a glance

  • 70% of adult’s experience at least one traumatic event during their lifetime
  • 20% of people experiencing a traumatic event during their lifetime will develop PTSD
  • About 8 million people have PTSD in a given year
  • 1 in 13 people will develop PTSD during their lifetime

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The symptoms of PTSD can be broken down into four main categories – Specific symptoms can vary in severity.

Intrusive thoughts

This includes repeated or unwanted memories, distressing dreams or flashbacks of the traumatic events. Flashbacks may be so vivid that patients feel like they are re-living those events.

Avoiding reminders

Avoiding reminders of traumatic events may include avoiding people, places, activities and situations that bring on distressing memories. Patients may avoid thinking or remembering the traumatic event and talking about what happened or how they feel about it.

Negative thoughts and feelings

These may include distorted beliefs about oneself or others. Patients also show less interest in activities they previously enjoyed or feeling detached or estranged from others.

Changes in physical and emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Self-destructive behaviour, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behaviour
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame

Many people experience these symptoms described above after being exposed to traumatic events. People are diagnosed if the symptoms last more than a couple of months or even years. Many of these symptoms occur after three months of the trauma, but other symptoms may appear later. For patients dealing with PTSD, the symptoms cause significant distress or cause functioning problems. PTSD often occurs with other related conditions, such as depression, substance use, memory problems and other physical and mental health problems.

Mar 8, 2021

How to deal with Covid related PTSD

The ongoing pandemic at hand has triggered several mental health, physical and economic concerns. Nevertheless, it’s in the midst of a crisis where we can unite […]